For Jill Tran and Carmen Thomas, interior design is a mind game.
“It’s all about psychology,” Thomas says. “We’re always trying to find out things like what does the homeowner enjoy doing? What are their hobbies? Where do they like to travel? What kind of clothes do they like to wear?”
This thought process became innately transparent in Tran and Thomas Design Studio’s recent renovation of a home in KCMO’s Blue Hills Estates neighborhood. Within the walls of the culturally modern home, you can sense the jetsetting homeowners’ adventures come to life through the ornate style and artwork, with inspiration stemming from journeys around the world.
The homeowners wanted to stick to a neutral palette with the artwork in their living room. Tran and Thomas used the installation above the fireplace, crafted by local designer Eugenia Ortiz, as an anchor for creating the rest of the room. They did this by channeling neutral colors of different patterns and textures in fabrics and coordinating the shapes of the furniture to the display.
“You’ll see curves everywhere: in the arms and legs of the chairs and sofa, the cocktail table,” Thomas says. “In a way, it mimics the artwork.”
“It’s important to have pieces that you can sit in and enjoy so that it’s not a space that you just have to walk by,” Thomas says. Instead of viewing the living room as a piece of art that can’t be touched, the homeowners wanted it to be a space where they could entertain and feel comfortable. A soft rug, plush wing chairs, mobile ottomans, a spacious coffee table and large windows with a view all help accomplish this.
Tran and Thomas framed upholstered panels to make geometric canvases
for the entryway. The frames are painted the same color as the trim work, and the gold sconces pop against the black and white foreground.
The blush tones of the sitting area give the room a sense of calm. A silk grasscloth wallpaper, dappled light through the pink drapes and soft lines are elemental for this relaxing space.
“[The homeowners] wanted the artwork to stand out, so we chose not to do a chandelier in here,” Thomas says. Instead, an ornate centerpiece, vibrant wall art and velvet-upholstered seating draw eyes in.